DNCB Outing No. 2018-13 to Point Roberts, USA

Photos by Michael Audet (MA), Brian Avent (BA), Jack MacDonald (JMacD)

It was pouring rain on Tuesday morning, but eleven stalwart DNCBers showed up, surprising me, and enjoyed a decent and productive outing at various sites in Point Roberts.  Check out our photog wizards’ offerings on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-13&view_all=1, including Ladner Jack’s “Goldeneye Landing”.

Eight of us car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am.  I forget who went with whom, but we were: Mike B1, Mike B2, PB Lorna, Ladner Jack, Boundary Bay Valerie, Richmond Angela A, our Guru Anne and me.  We met Richmond Brian, North Delta Jean and newbie Vancouverite and Photog Michael A at Lighthouse Marine Park (LMP).  The Border crossing was smooth, and we stopped first at Kiniski’s Reef Tavern for a quick look at the Georgia Strait before going to LMP.  Common Loons, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and Horned Grebes were close, and lots of fly-bys of Cormorants, Greater Scaup, and Scoters, mostly Surf.  We saw our first Sea Lions here, and we tried to determine whether they were California or Steller Sea Lions (aka Steller’s).  We think we saw both, but we certainly saw a group of five yellow female Steller Sea Lions.  We assumed a few Herring were around, although we didn’t see any piles of spawn/eggs on shore.

Moving on (a Cooper’s Hawk flew past our windshield) to LMP, more Sea Lions here (and Harbour Seals), as well as the Cormorants flying by.  With Anne’s guidance, three species were seen, Double-crested, Pelagic and the difficult-to-ID Brandt’s Cormorants.  A few resident Black Turnstones were on shore in front of us with several Sanderlings.  We introduced newbie Mike A to the group, then he quickly took the Group Photo.


DNCB at Lighthouse Marine Park (minus latecomer Roger M) – photo by Michael Audet

As I said earlier, the weather was miserable, and I was afraid we would lose participants early.  As we walked toward the Lighthouse (there really is no Lighthouse, so I don’t know why I continue to say this), other species popped up, such as Red-breasted Mergansers, gorgeous pairs of Harlequin Ducks and Brant.  The water was wavy so spotting and identifying was difficult, plus rain on our bins didn’t help.  Some saw Pigeon Guillemots and White-winged Scoters, but we couldn’t find any Murres or Murrelets.  The elusive Roger M came to LMP around 11:00 am, after we were gone, and saw Western Grebes.

To avoid the wind and cold, we decided to take the inland trail back to the car park.  Lots of clearing and construction going on at LMP, and we didn’t see anything exciting, perhaps an Anna’s Hummingbird and some regular Sparrow species.  So we left LMP and convoyed to the north Marina parking lot.  The rain had stopped, and it seemed to be milder now.  Between the parked yachts we saw: Pied-billed and Horned Grebes (but no Eared), Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye (Ladner Jack got a neat photo of a male doing its neck-bending mating dance).  Some saw PB Lorna’s resident Kingfisher, and the brilliant red House Finches were in the same tree as our last visit here on January 30.

Next stop was the south side of the Marina where we saw more Harlequins, Goldeneye and Gadwall near the Marina entrance.  No Meadowlarks or Killdeer here this morning. Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons sporadically perched or posing around the area.  We drove to Lily Point Park and walked to the point Lookout.  Tonnes of birds in the distance in the Bay/Gulf of Georgia as we looked across to White Rock and the San Juan Islands.  We saw lots of scoters, scaup, mergansers, cormorants, loons, but couldn’t identify anything different.  We walked to the second lookout and same here.  In the trees we heard little birds such as Kinglets, Purple Finches and Pacific Wrens, and got great looks at a Hutton’s Vireo in the parking lot.

Now approaching 11:30 am, and the sun finally appearing, we decided to leave PR for lunch at the Rose & Crown Pub in Tsawwassen.  Lively Leila looked after us (6) as most had the Soup & Sandwich Daily Special.  I had a pint of Canadian and took off to my second Men’s Club Golf outing for 12:45 Tee time at Tsawwassen Springs (shot a lower-than-normal, very pleasing 82).  I wonder if it was the pre-game beer, PB Lorna’s p-b sandwich, or my soaked clothing.  Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable DNCB outing, especially with our Guru Anne back with us.

Next Wednesday (yes WEDNESDAY, not Tuesday), April 4, Debbi H will lead us on our outing in UBC’s Botanical Garden.  We will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am, and expect to meet others at the Garden parking lot entrance off SW Marine Drive at 8:30 am.

Don’t forget our Delta Nats monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 3, 7:30 pm at the Benediction Lutheran Church, with Ross Dixon of the Raincoast Conservation Society giving a presentation on Safeguarding Coastal Carnivores (Wolves).

Check out our DNS for more information, reports and photographs. As always, your comments are appreciated, and let me know if you want off my List to receive these rambling and annoying missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

About dncb

DNS: Delta Naturalists are a group of nature lovers whose aim is to foster interest in the natural history of the Fraser delta by sharing and enjoying nature and promoting environmental awareness and conservation. DNCB: Delta Nats Casual Birders is a group of Casual Birders who go Birding at different locations each week, usually within the Lower Mainland or in nearby Washington State.
This entry was posted in *DNCB, Black Turnstone, Brandt's Cormorant, California Sea Lion, Cooper's Hawk, Harlequin Duck, Hutton's Vireo, Lighthouse Marine Park, Lily Point Park, Pelagic Cormorant, Pied-billed Grebe, Pigeon Guillemot, Point Roberts, Purple Finch, Red-breasted Merganser, Sanderling, Steller Sea Lion. Bookmark the permalink.

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